An MLA has called for the creation of a “central register of people who are not allowed near pets”.
Carla Lockhart, DUP MLA for Upper Bann, told the Belfast Telegraph there was a “real need for a change in the legislation” following reports of a puppy being killed on Saturday in Lurgan.
11-week-old Sparky was allegedly attacked with a hammer and put into a microwave while onlookers filmed the incident for social media.
A 23-year-old man has been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and another 16-year-old boy who was arrested has been released on bail pending further police inquiries.
Ms Lockhart said: “We must have justice and also there has to be tougher, robust sentencing for cruelty for this type of act.
“All too often there is a slap on the wrist. That’s not a deterrent and there is a real need for a change in the legislation and a central register of people who are not allowed near pets. Of course, if we had Stormont up and running we could alter this type of legislation.”
Andrea Mannus, who runs an animal rescue centre in North Down, added: “What we really need is the courts to put out a clear message that animal cruelty is not acceptable in any way and there needs to be an effective deterrent.”